Saturday 24 February 2018

Man who knocked ex-partner unconscious on Dublin Bus avoids jail for second time

Duane Brady (36) pleaded guilty to two counts of assault
Duane Brady (36) pleaded guilty to two counts of assault

Ruaidhrí Giblin

A man who attacked his former partner on a Dublin Bus and knocked her unconscious after she fled has avoided jail for a second time despite an appeal by prosecutors.

Duane Brady (36) with addresses at Summerhill and Clonliffe Road, in Dublin 1, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two counts of assault causing harm to his former partner on the number 39 Dublin Bus and on a public street near Blanchardstown Shopping Centre on May 13 2011.

Brady was given a wholly suspended two year sentence by Ms Justice Carmel Stewart on March 10 2014, which the Director of Public Prosecutions claimed was “unduly lenient”.

Counsel for the DPP, Anne-Marie Lawlor BL, submitted to the Court of Appeal today that the trial judge had erred in imposing a non-custodial sentence on Brady and further that the suspension should have been for a much greater period of time.

Speaking on behalf of the Court of Appeal, Mr Justice George Birmingham said the incident took place on the number 39 Dublin Bus, and on a public street approximate to Blanchardstown Shopping Centre after the victim had fled from the vehicle.

Brady had previously been involved in a relationship with the victim, the judge said. They had a child together but they had been estranged for a period.

Mr Justice Birmingham said the pair were at a party on the date in question, had left separately and at 8 o'clock found themselves getting on the same bus.

It seems there was some sort of incident at the party involving Brady and others but “details of that are sketchy,” Mr Justice Birmingham said.

The injured party sat separate to Brady on the bus and as she walked past him, he said 'I'll see you later', the judge said.

When she sat down, Brady turned around and punched her with full force into the mouth according to a number of witnesses, the judge said. She began to bleed profusely, dialled 999 and fled.

On the street Brady was seen kicking, punching and screaming. “He continued to hit her to the extent that she lost conciousness,” the judge said.

She suffered a fracture of the hand, swelling of the hand, bruising around the eye and abrasion to the rib. They were "significant injuries,” Mr Justice Birmingham said.

Brady has “a long history of drug and alcohol addiction,” the judge said

He has 43 previous convictions including convictions for robbery, an assault causing serious harm and an assault causing harm on a different former partner. He has also fathered a number of children with other women.

If the sentencing judge had decided that custody was required, nobody could suggest she was guilty of an error in principle, Mr Justice Birmingham said.

One had to engage with her reasons for suspending the sentence with a “degree of deduction,” he said, because she simply proceeded to sentence following an adjournment without given reasons.

Mr Justice Birmingham said a probation report drew comfort from Brady's clear urine analysis and the judge seems to have taken the view that there was hope.

He said Brady had served a number of sentences, had experienced prison and, it appeared, had not benefitted from it.

While of the view that this was a “very lenient” sentence, Mr Justice Birmingham said the court was not of the view that it would be appropriate to intervene by way of incarceration at this stage, four years after the incident.

Accordingly, Mr Justice Birmingham, who sat with Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan and Mr Justice John Edwards, dismissed the DPP's appeal.

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